ASOR Punic Project/James Whitred

Limestone stela from the Tanit III period, 300–146 B.C. The Punic inscription tells us that Bod’ashtart, son of Hanno, has dedicated his child to the goddess Tanit. A pointed gable atop the stela is decorated with a disk and crescent, possibly a symbol for Ba‘al Hammon, the consort of Tanit. Two other common Punic religious symbols are carved into the stela the upraised hand and the “sign of Tanit”—the schematic triangle with head and curved lines that represent upraised arms.

Many other Tanit III stelae contained the same motifs in different combinations. ASOR Excavation art historian Shelby Brown suggests that stelae pattern “books” existed—parents could go to the local workshop and select a stela from “floor” models or order a stela to be custom made.